Podcast 8: Interview with Bob Wootton

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Bob Wootton and a Fender Telecaster used to create the boom-chicka-boom signature Johnny Cash sound!

Taken from Bob Wootton’s myspace page: “Where’s Luther, Johnny?” It’s a shouted question that was captured for posterity on Johnny Cash’s classic Live at San Quentin album. In fact, Luther Perkins, an original member of the Tennessee Two and originator of the legendary “boom chick a boom” guitar on Cash’s early records, had been killed in a house fire on August 5, 1968.

A lanky, somber-looking musician from Paris, Arkansas, named Bob Wootton had been hired to replace the irreplaceable Perkins. But Wootton was up to the challenge. In fact, He had been training for it since childhood. As a youngster, Wootton had been fascinated by Johnny Cash’s early hits, especially the distinctive lead guitar. While playing the records over and over, he trained himself to play along, note for note.

On September 17, 1968, fate began to intervene, preparing the way for Wootton to step on stage with his idol and fill the void left by Perkins’ death. Cash was in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to perform – but his band had been delayed at an out-of-town airport- and it was show time. Wootton was at the front of the stage, when the girl he was with got June Carter’s attention and told her that he could play guitar “Luther-style.” June Carter motioned her husband from the stage, Cash gave Wootton a try on the spot, with no rehearsal – and was amazed to find that Wootton not only knew every song Cash wanted to do, but that he could play them just as Luther had. Bob Wootton was far more than a Perkins imitator.

Over the next thirty years he developed a style that paid tribute to, and expanded upon, what Perkins had originated. He stepped from Perkins’ shadow and became a guitar legend in his own right. In the years that followed, everywhere you saw Johnny Cash, Bob Wootton was close by. In every major event in John’s life Bob was always there. He has traveled all over the world many times, has played John’s double in countless movies, has been on more television shows than most major stars, and countless recordings.

Bob Wootton is known as a guitar legend and is listed in the “ Top 1000 Guitars players of the World.” Bob was devastated by Cash’s illness and death, and did not perform for several years. Today, however, Wootton is again touring the world, playing Cash tunes and keeping the magical sound of the Legendary Tennessee Two and Tennessee Three alive to appreciative crowds throughout the U.S. and Europe. Along with Vicky Wootton formerly of “The Carter Family”, Scarlett Wootton and upright bass phenomenon Lisa Horngren, The Tennessee Three is keeping the tradition of the Cash – Carter Family alive.

Previous Podcasts:

Show Notes

  1. Johnny Cash
  2. Mandolin
  3. Kay Old Kraftsman
  4. Fender Telecaster
  5. Fender Jazzmaster
  6. Gene Autry
  7. The Fabulous Johnny Cash
  8. Luther Perkins
  9. Carl Perkins
  10. June Carter Cash
  11. At San Quentin
  12. Duane Eddy
  13. Folsom Prison Blues By Johnny Cash
  14. Tennessee Three
  15. The Iron Curtain
  16. Booking: Scartana Entertainment Contact @ (615)975-1475
  17. Montana Wootton (daughter)
  18. Scarlet Wootton (daughter)
  19. Andy Griffith
  20. Murder in Coweta County (1983

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